Each of the three cities within Lamorinda has an education foundation to bridge the gap between state funding and the district budget needed to run the excellent programs within the Lamorinda schools. While public school is free for all, the excellent programs provided in Lamorinda depend on donations, sponsors, business partnerships and fundraising events to help support the elementary, middle and high schools of Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda. Millions of dollars are given each year through the three foundations to Lamorinda’s students.
The foundations are each known by their acronyms: Lafayette’s foundation is LPIE or Lafayette Partners in Education; Moraga’s foundation is MEF or Moraga Education Foundation; and Orinda’s foundation is EFO or Educational Foundation of Orinda. The money generated by these non-profit foundations is utilized in a wide variety of ways. Some ways in which the money is used include: art, science, librarians, music/band, PE, tutors, aides, technology, enhanced class selections, counselors and wellness centers.
Each foundation encourages all families within the district to participate. There is an ‘ask’ for T-K to eight grade and one for high school from each foundation, but any donation is of course appreciated. During registration, there are opportunities to designate a donation amount, and there are a variety of payment methods including lump some, quarterly, monthly and of course by credit card or paypal. Often the amount suggested by each of the foundations is dependent on whether the school Parent Organization is coordinated for one request or if they are two separate requests. In 2018, the suggested amounts were: LPIE- $1300 per TK-8 student and $1000 per student (high school); MEF-$1300 per TK-8 student and $1100 per high school student; EFO-$650 per student plus an additional amount suggested by the Parents Club.
Each foundation has a Board of Directors as well as some paid employees. Volunteering on the board and/or to be a site representative is a great way to get involved. Each foundation has business partnerships and sponsors at a variety of levels. Many families take advantage of corporate matching opportunities as well.
Each of the foundations throws a gala event to help with fundraising efforts. These are typically sell out events for parents and community supporters to enjoy a night out for a great cause. There are silent and live auctions, wonderful food and drinks and a great opportunity to socialize with parents from the entire district. If you see the ticket purchase date advertised, do not take this lightly, as the event tickets are a hot commodity, which just demonstrates how important education is to Lamorinda’s parents.
All three cities, and the students within them, are lucky to have these longs-standing education foundations to support the needs of students. The four school districts to include Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda and Acalanes (the three high schools are in the Acalanes School District), greatly benefit. Given the state budget and its unpredictability, these foundations serve to augment the district’s budget and create a huge draw for many families looking for top notch schools with incredible programs.